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Tools and Information for Individuals in Recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating
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September 14, 2017

Acupuncture With a Gentle Touch

Gabrielle RubinGabrielle Rubin, L.Ac, recently joined Mirasol's as our staff acupuncturist. She received her Masters Degree in acupuncture from the New England School of Acupuncture and specializes in Japanese acupuncture.

"The Japanese style is very, very gentle," she explains. "It comes from the perspective of 'less is more'."

Like traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Japanese acupuncture uses fine needles inserted at strategic points along the body to balance the flow of energy. But it uses a lighter touch and the needles are inserted shallowly.

It also relies on continual feedback during treatment. A session begins by gently palpating the abdomen, looking for points of tenderness and tightness. The practitioner also checks the pulses — examining several finger positions at various depths on the wrists. The goal is to find out what is most deficient in the body — for example, a deficient spleen, or kidney or liver — and to restore balance.

She constantly references the body and adjusts the position of the needles based on that feedback. She also asks the clients for input.

"Eating disorder clients have a hard time being present in their bodies," she says, "and they really don't want to talk about how they're feeling. I often start by just asking them to name a single emotion that they're feeling, and then asking them where they feel that emotion in their body. And I'll choose some points based on that feedback."

The continual feedback ensures that clients actively participate in their treatment.

"I invite them to be present with their bodies and feel their bodies. My intention isn't to encourage them to relive past trauma, but rather to help them move those patterns, and to see that potential for change within themselves."

Gabrielle believes that this style of acupuncture is particularly effective for eating disorder populations.

"A lot of clients have so much trauma and fear — including fear of needles — and many are very low body weight, so they don't have a lot of energy. The gentle Japanese style means their experience of acupuncture is a relaxing one. It helps tonify their bodies and get their systems to point where they can begin rebuilding energy."

Alternative Eating Disorder Treatment